Driverless cars to be tested on UK roads by end of 2013

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Florida’s Legislature just wrote a ban on texting while driving, but if technology moguls have their way, this law will be fairly moot within the next decade as driverless cars take over the roads.

In fact, in 2012, Florida became the third state in the nation to permit the testing or operation of autonomous cars on the state’s roadways, through a bill sponsored by then-Rep. Jeff Brandes and Rep. Richard Corcoran.

Driverless cars have international attention. The BBC announced that Tuesday that autonomous cars will be tested on UK public roads by the end of this year, and are seen as potentially safer and more efficient than regular vehicles.

Such vehicles of the future use a system of sensors and cameras to guide the cars with a back-up driver in tow who can take over if needed. These vehicles maintain safe distances from cars in front and go at a set speed without deviating from their lane, and can memorize common routes such as work or school commutes.

Many of these features represent a gradual evolution of technologies, building from features that are already offered in newer cars such as adaptive cruise control and guided parking.

Ford, Audi and Volvo have interest in adapting existing cars to be more autonomous, and Google has led efforts in the private sector with a fleet of converted Toyota Prius that have already traveled more than 300,000 miles on public roads.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.